If you want to know how to spend 4 days in Sedona, keep on reading 🙂 Sedona was our first stop in Arizona and it was also my favorite! If you are planning your trip to Arizona, Sedona should be on your to do list. I actually did not know about Sedona until I started to research and found incredible images of Sedona and its Red Rocks. Sedona is famous for the marvelous Red Rocks which surround the whole town. The view you are getting when driving into Sedona is for sure something special and unique. Something I have not seen before.

Sedona is a very spiritual place where you can connect with nature on a deeper level. It is considered to be the spiritual power center because of the vortexes of subtle energy located in the area. A vortex is a place in nature where the earth is exceptionally alive with energy. The vortexes are one of the many reasons that attract tourist from all over the world. People come to Sedona for meditation, yoga, tarot read, hiking and more.

If you’re planning a long weekend in Sedona, this 4 day itinerary will give you all the information you need to plan the perfect trip. Sedona stole my heart and I was surely not expecting that and I bet you will feel the same way. This is my ultimate Sedona Itinerary aka How to Spend 4 Days in Sedona. I’ll be sharing my favorite hikes, cool other activities, good eats, what to pack and other great tips!

How to get there?

We took a flight from Chicago to Phoenix, rented a car from Enterprise and drove about 2 hours to Sedona. The drive to Sedona is breathtaking so take the opportunity to pull off and check out the cacti that grow crazy there – some cacti are so huge! You’ll drive through steep grades until you see the wonderful red rocks pop up on either side of you. A hell of a view!

Where to stay?

A super cute boutique hotel that you can stay at while you are visiting Sedona is El Portal. The hotel has the perfect location and you have plenty of shopping opportunities, restaurants and cafes around you. The cute shopping area Tlaquepaque is walking distance. El Portal Sedona Hotel is a family owned hotel that makes you feel like home immediately. Another great feature about the hotel is that they are pet friendly – so if you have furry friend traveling with you, you can consider El Portal as well. The hotel has twelve suite that are all unique in their own way, which makes the experience at El Portal even more special.

Behind the custom-made door of each suite, you will find museum quality Arts and Crafts furnishings. Every suite offers features such as fireplaces, french doors, stencil designs, hand-painted detailing, stained glass ceiling panels, and more. Every suite comes with a private bathroom, and designs may include free-form granite counters, Jacuzzi tub, steam shower, and free standing claw foot tub. Our room had a jacuzzi tub and we loved it!

The hotel offers unlimited tea, coffee and sweet goodies that you can grab in the kitchen area next to the great room. A huge couch and fireplace in the great room welcome you to sit down and relax. We visited during winter time and it got chilly in the evening so we could not enjoy the gorgeous and huge courtyard of the hotel that much. During summer, you can enjoy the courtyard and have a glass of wine while stargazing.

Another opportunity to Sedona is to stay in Flagstaff. Flagstaff is like a 45 minute drive but if you don’t mind the drive and want cheaper options, you can consider staying in Flagstaff. We did that on one trip.

Where to eat?

Wholesome in Cottonwood

If you like healthy food, this is the place to go. This place offers health fast food and we loved the wraps they had so much. They also have fresh juices and smoothies as well as salad bowls.

Chai Cafe

The rooftop terrace is so beautiful and relaxing. They offer a variety of different chai teas. Great spot to relax and have a tea/coffee break.

Hideaway House

The pizzas at this place were huge and so delicious. The pizzas are thin crust italien style pizzas and so good! Highly recommend this place. We were there when the sun already has set but apparently it also offers incredible views!

How to Spend 4 Days in Sedona

Day 1

After arriving in around 12 pm at the airport in Phoenix, we rented the car and drove all the way straight to Sedona where we checked into our hotel. After checking in, we quickly ate something because we were starving and researched what hikes we could do for sunset. We looked for a shorter hike with some stunning views. To be honest, none of the hikes we did in Sedona did disappoint us. They simply all offer breathtaking and unique views of the Red Rocks.

Cathedral Rock Hike for Sunset

This was by far my highlight in Sedona. In fact, we did this one twice because we enjoyed the views so much. The hike itself is very steep but short. If you are very fit, you can actually hike up in less than 15 minutes. But there are endless photo opportunities on the way, so in reality it will probably take you a little longer. Reaching the top and witnessing the sunset from Cathedral Rock was a unique experience. Up there the world seems to stand still and everything seems so peaceful.

We enjoyed the views for quite a while and stayed there for about 2h. When we started to hike down it was already dark, so I definitely recommend you take some flashlights. It is very hard to find the trail path when it is pitch dark. Even with the flash lights we had a hard time and took the wrong path a couple of times.

Length: 1.3 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate (climbing involved)
Elevation Gain: Approximately 774 ft.
Fee/Permit: $5 per day
Hours: 24 hours

Day 2

Soldiers Pass Hike

Woke up early in the morning to hike Soldiers Pass and some cool caves in this area (an extension of the original hike). Since the car parking space is limited (only about 10-15 cars) you need to make sure to be there before the gate to the parking lots opens. We were there around 7.15 (gate opens at 8am) and we were already the 4th car in line. So make sure to be there early if you want to secure a parking spot. The heat in Sedona is crazy, especially between 11am and 4pm, which is why we really tried to avoid hiking during that time. We either did morning or afternoon hikes 🙂

The Soldiers pass is famous for the Devil’s Sinkhole, the 7 Sacred Ponds and the hidden caves that you can reach by following another path at some point. If you are adventurous and in the mood for climbing, do not miss out on the hidden caves. Just continue the trail after reaching the 7 Sacred Ponds and follow the path for a while. One of the coolest features of Soldiers Pass Trail is the hidden cave – Soldiers Pass Cave – actually an offshoot from the main trail. Once you enter the Red Rock Mountain Secret Wilderness, there will be a fork in the trail at this point. Once on the trail you will not have a lot of shade, so make sure to bring lots of sunscreen and a hat to cover your head.

After walking for a bit you can spot the arched hole from far. Once you get closer you will find another deeper hole above it. This is the cave! We first were not sure how in the hell we were supposed to get up there but found a small pile of stacked rocks on the right side that you can climb. Climbing up is definitely easier as climbing down 😀 One of the trail highlights besides the caves was the tarantula that we saw on the trail. It was my first time seeing a wild tarantula. Pretty cool, hugh?! After enjoying the caves we made our way to downtown Sedona and had a lunch break. Also, it was so hot that we really needed to rest, some shade, and lots of water.

Hike Length: 4.1 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate (some climbing involved)
Elevation Gain: 620 feet

Broken Arrow Hike

Once finished with the lunch we wandered around the city for a bit and decided to do the Broken Arrow Hike for sunset. Most people book the Jeep tour but we decided to hike and ,to our surprise, were the only ones on the trail. The trail is relatively easy and well maintained. It took us about 2h roundtrip. The views at the end over the valley are absolutely magical. Hiking there in the afternoon for sunset was a great idea. The position of the sun was ideal and we were lucky enough to hike in the shadow.

Trust me, the sun there is so strong, especially when you live in an area where you barely have summer days 😀 On our way back to the car we had a lovely encounter with a rattle snake. It was terrifying since we were the only ones on the trail. Since the path is so narrow and the snake was directly in front of us there was not much space to just walk pass the snake. Thats why we decided to go back to the end of the trail and took the jeep trail instead.

Hike Length: 2.7 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy (some climbing involved)
Elevation Gain: 393 feet

Day 3

West Fork Hike

We probably woke up early every day on this trip because we really wanted to hike close to sunrise to avoid heat during lunch time. Parking lots are limited for this hike as well so we also made sure to arrive very early and save a parking space. Try to be there when the parking area opens to make sure you get a spot. The hike itself is relatively easy and the best part, most of the trail is in shade. In the morning it can get chilly though. I had to wear my poncho most of the time.

After 11 am it gets really warm though. This hike is very different from the other trails that we did in Sedona. You hike through a forest and a canyon with a creek. The are times where you have to walk through water but it was not very deep, although this varies throughout the year and really depends on the rainfall. After finishing this hike in about 3h we went for a coffee and lunch break.

Length: 6.9 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 839 ft.
Fee/Permit: $10 per vehicle, up to 5 people or $2 per person walk-in fee
Hours: 9a.m.- 7p.m.

In the afternoon we decided to visit the Arts & Shopping village Tlaquepaque and loved this beautiful village so much. Tlaquepaque is probably one of the most distinctive Sedona shopping experience to be found in the Southwest. It gives you European vibes and makes you feel like you are wandering through streets in Spain or Italy. It felt like a mix of Europe and Mexico. Tlaquepaque was designed after the traditional Mexican village, Tlaquepaque, meaning the “best of everything,” and has been a Sedona landmark since the 1970’s. Its vine covered stucco walls, cobble-stoned walkways and magnificent arched entryways give you the feeling that Tlaquepaque has been here for centuries. Honestly, you can spend hours just strolling around the village admiring the architecture.

Bell Rock Hike

There are so many great hikes in Sedona and we are happy we did so many of them. The Bell Rock hike is such a great hike to do for sunset because you are getting an amazing view of the Red Rocks after climbing the Bell Rock. It is also super fun to climb the huge rocks. The hike is also not too hard, the only hard part is probably the elevation. Bell Rock is one of the most easily recognizable formations in Sedona with its dome-like silhouette hovering close to Highway 179. We hiked up the Bell Rock in about 45 minutes, found a nice spot to sit and enjoyed the view from up there for a while until we made our way back to the parking lot.

Length: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: The loop can be considered moderate. The additional ascent to the top of Bell Rock is difficult.
Elevation Gain: Approximately 700 ft.
Fee/Permit: $5 per day
Hours: 24 hours

Day 4

Devils Bridge Hike

One of my personal highlights and the hike that I was the most excited about was the Devils Bridge Hike. You know how they say “Save the best for last”. Well, that is exactly what we did. Everyone that I asked suggested to hike the Devils Bridge for sunrise which is why we did that. And it was so worth it. Waking up that morning was a real struggle because our hotel was located in Flagstaff and the drive to trail head was about 45 minutes. Thus, we had to wake up even earlier to make it for sunrise.

The hike to the Devils Bridge is about 45 minutes as well if you are fast walker. I would not say it is a hard hike, the only tough part is at the end right before reaching the bridge where you have to climb for a little bit.

If you hike before sunrise you should bring a flashlight because it is super dark and it is hard to find the right way. But trust me, hiking up for sunrise is so worth it. Not only will you have the bridge to yourself for some time, but the seeing the sunrise from up there is also a unique experience. We had the bridge almost to ourselves for about 30 minutes. Then it got more crowded and you actually had to stand in line to get the photo on the bridge. We enjoyed the stunning views on Devils Bridge for a while and then headed down the trail.

Length: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: The loop can be considered moderate. The additional ascent to the top of Bell Rock is difficult.
Elevation Gain: Approximately 700 ft.
Fee/Permit: $5 per day
Hours: 24 hours

Since we really loved Tlaquepaque so much, we came back to the little village and took a couple more photos there and enjoyed coffee at the cute rooftop cafe “Chai” that serves delicious Chai tea! The rooftop is so adorable and gives you the feeling that you are somewhere in Turkey. A must visit! We wanted something super fresh and organic for lunch and went to the place Wholesome in Cottonwood that is about a 20 minute drive from Sedona. The wraps that we had there were so good! Highly recommend this place.

Fay Canyon Hike

Honestly, we loved hiking on this trip so much and thats exactly why we wanted to squeeze in as many hikes as possible. Fay Canyon was rated as easy and short and was probably the only one that was not that spectacular. It felt more like a nice walk but not a hike I would do again. It is still very beautiful, but I was more impressed by the other hikes that we did.

Length: 2 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: Approximately 250 ft.
Fee/Permit: Free
Hours: 24 hours

We ended our trip with the Cathedral Rock Hike for sunset again because this was by far our highlight in Sedona. The sunset the top of Cathedral Rock is just unbelievable and as mentioned earlier gives you inner peace. We probably loved the second time even more because there were less people and we already knew the area and where to find the best spot to just enjoy the views.

Additional recommended hiking trails

Birthing Cave

Sedona has so many caves to explore and it is really tough to pick a hike, simply because there are so many great ones. The Birthing cave is an easy and short hike, about 20 minutes walking one way and it rewards with spectacular views over the Red Rocks. If you want to capture the whole cave you will need a wide angle lens or a phone that is able to take wide angle photos. Otherwise it will not be possible to capture the whole cave. It is not easy to sit in the cave because the walls are super steep and it can get slippery, so be careful when taking photos. The hike starts at Long Canyon trailhead – coordinates: 34°54’23.7″N 111°49’27.0″W

Length: 2 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: Approximately 291 ft.
Fee/Permit: Free
Hours: 24 hours

Boynton Trail to Subway Cave

Another fun trail is the Boynton trail which then merges into the Subway Trail and leads to the Subway cave. It was not easy to find this trail, but luckily we had a master researcher in our group that figured out the way to this unique cave. I do not have the exact coordinates of the cave but with lots of research and Google Maps it is possible to find the trail. The view from the cave is amazing and so worth it! Until now it is still a hidden gem, but I do not think this will last long. There are several caves once you reach the main cave and you can even find petroglyphs on some of them. Here is a vlog of the hiking trail: Secret Cave

Packing List: